Week 3 Of The Newborn Sleep Schedule
Now that your baby is about 3 weeks old and is getting the hang of full feeds and has their days and nights mostly fixed, its time to start thinking about teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own.
Why worry about this so early?
Heres why because they are probably already doing it at this point and their drive to sleep is still strong.
2 and 3 week old babies often go to sleep on their own without much fuss, and if you want that to continue then now is the time to start good habits.
As babies get bigger theyll stop this and thats when you get in a pickle.
Having to jump through hoops and use newfangled vibrating equipment, washing machines, and cars to get baby to sleep.
Don’t Worry About ‘do’s And Don’ts’ Of Baby Sleep
It’s really important to not get caught up in too many ‘sleep do’s and don’ts’ for the first few months. For the first three months especially, you really only need to be feeding, changing and putting them back down to sleep. For those with babies dealing with reflux or colic, you know that sleep is a challengeso do whatever you have to do!
Coping With Disturbed Nights
Try to resist the urge to rush in if your baby murmurs in the night. Depending on their age, you could leave them for a few minutes and see if they settle on their own. Having said that, newborn babies invariably wake up repeatedly in the night for the first few months and disturbed nights can be very hard to cope with.
If you’re formula feeding, you might like to encourage your partner to share the feeds. If you’re breastfeeding, you could ask your partner to take over the early morning changing and dressing so that you can go back to sleep.
Once you’re into a good breastfeeding routine, your partner could occasionally give a bottle of expressed breast milk during the night. If you’re on your own, you could ask a friend or relative to stay for a few days so that you can sleep.
When Should I Talk To My Doctor
- Loud snoring: If your child regularly snores loudly, this can be a sign of a problem.
- Sleepwalking: Sleepwalking is a disorder where a child is partly awake, but not completely, during the night. Your child may sit up in bed and repeat certain movements, such as rubbing their eyes. They may get out of bed and walk around the room. When you talk to your child, they usually wont answer you. If your child sleepwalks it is important that you ensure the area is safe. Gently guide your child back to bed without waking them. If the problem continues, contact your doctor.
- Night terrors: These are different from nightmares. Children with night terrors scream uncontrollably, may breathe quickly, and seem to be awake. If you wake your child, they will likely to be confused, and may take longer to settle down and go back to sleep. Night terrors usually happen between the ages of 4 and 12, but can happen to children as young as 18 months old. Most children will outgrow them, but talk to your doctor if they persist.
What Is Tummy Time
Tummy time is when you put your baby on her stomach while shes awake. It can help make your babys neck, shoulder and arm muscles stronger. It also helps prevent flat spots on the back of your babys head that she may get from sleeping on her back. Always watch your baby during tummy time or make sure an adult who is awake is watching your baby.
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Where To Get Further Help
- If you’re feeling really tired and struggling to cope, talk to your GP or health visitor. Find out about services and support for parents.
- Cry-sis offers advice on coping with a crying or restless baby. You can call their helpline on 08451 228 669. It’s open 7 days a week from 9am to 10pm.
- Family Lives has a free helpline you can call for information and support on parenting or family issues. The number is 0808 800 2222 and it’s open Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm.
- Home-Start offers support to parents and carers through a parent-helper visiting scheme. Contact your local Home-Start.
Establishing A Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be helpful for everyone and can help prevent sleeping problems later on. It’s also great one-to-one time with your baby. Here are some things to try:
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving them a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile that you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
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Tips For How To Get Baby To Sleep
As baby grows and becomes more aware of their surroundings, its easy for them to cross that line between cautiously curious and decidedly overstimulated. In the first months of life, an infants social, emotional and intellectual skills are slowly maturing, says James McKenna, PhD, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. During these critical developmental years, new daily experiences can cause baby to construct new things to worry about, to be aware of, to think about and to be afraid of.
In other words, just like for Mom , babys daytime stressors can impact nighttime sleep. And that means baby craves the comfort only you can provide. So what can you do to help baby get some ZZZs? Here are some guidelines for how to get baby to sleep easier.
What To Do If Your Baby Isnt Sleeping Well
Every baby is different, so dont fret if your baby isnt following all the rules. While its normal for newborns to wake up multiple times throughout the night, dont hesitate to talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about your babys sleep patterns.
If your baby wakes up crying and doesnt fall back asleep after a few minutes, they might be hungry, uncomfortable, or need their diaper changed. Quickly and quietly take care of their needs, using a nightlight instead of the overhead light if possible. You may soothe an anxious baby by patting them or saying a few reassuring words, but try not to take them out of the crib unless its strictly necessary.
Giving your baby plenty of love and attention during the day and encouraging them to be independent at night may ease the that many babies start to feel around the 6-month mark. Your baby may also feel more comfortable with a pacifier.
Its not uncommon for babies to revert to an erratic sleep schedule once in a while. These sleep regressions are a normal part of healthy infancy and can happen due to teething, illness, growth spurts, changing naptimes, or when they are learning new skills such as how to talk or walk.
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How Sleep Deprivation Affects Health
Anyone who has ever lost a few hours of sleep knows that sleep deprivation can make you feel a little extra forgetful, unmotivated, spaced out, and exhausted. But sleep deprivation that is chronic, as is often the case when you’re a sleep-deprived new parent, can actually have significant effects on your physical and mental health.
Lay The Baby Down Awake But Drowsy
The most important way to encourage your newborn to sleep in the long run is to teach him to fall asleep independently, which is essentially the beginnings of teaching independent sleep.
Babies, like adults, will naturally wake up during the night. Without knowing how to get back to sleep, a baby will cry out after waking regardless of actual need, resulting in night waking droning on for much longer than is actually necessary.
Once a baby gets older, falling asleep independently enables a baby to drift back to sleep after waking in the night, ultimately helping your baby sleep better in the long run.
You can start by settling your baby into a drowsy state with your newborn baby routine, then lay your baby down in their safe sleep space. If needed, place a gentle but firm hand over your babies chest while he drifts off.
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Sleep Train When Youre Ready
Opinions vary on the subject of infant sleep training, but there can be a time and place for helping baby lengthen his sleep stretches. My suggestion is for parents to do what they are comfortable doing, advises Wenworth.
Once a baby is 4 months old, you can begin doing some sleep training if it suits your family. This can look different for everyone, but the most important piece is that you have your pediatricians okay, and that parents choose a method that theyre comfortable with and can be consistent with for at least 2 weeks.
Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.
It may take a few weeks for your baby’s brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it’s the place for sleep.
Don’t try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that he or she will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who’ve had enough sleep during the day.
If your newborn is fussy it’s OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling can also help to soothe a crying baby. For the first months of your baby’s life, “spoiling” is definitely not a problem.
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When To See A Doctor
There are times when crying all night is indicative of a bigger issue. If your gut feeling as a parent is saying something is wrong, listen to it and call your babys doctor for an appointment. Its wise to ask a pediatrician to rule out any medical issues.
Sleep deprivation for parents is real, and it can make you feel desperate. If you have thoughts of hurting your baby or yourself, place your baby in their crib in a safe space, and step away for a few minutes to take a break and clear your head. If you have these feelings, contact your doctor so you can get professional help.
If you feel your baby is sleeping too much or not enough, ask the pediatrician as well.
When Its Hard To Know What Your Newborn Needs
There are times when its hard to know what newborns need. For example, you might have tried feeding or putting your baby down for a sleep, but baby still seems unsettled.
If your baby is crying, first check whether baby is sick, hurt or uncomfortable. If not, and if baby has fed in the last two hours, cuddling and comfort are in order. For example, you could try holding your baby in your arms with their head near your chest.
Your newborn will feel safe and secure when you interact with them in warm, loving and responsive ways. You cant spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them or talking to them.
If your baby is crying a lot, its very important to look after yourself. Even just five minutes reading a book, walking around the block or doing some meditation can give you a break if youre feeling stressed, anxious or angry. Or sometimes it might help to have another person take over for a while. If you can, ask your partner or a friend or relative to help out.
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Nighttime Decisions When Getting Baby To Sleep
Develop a realistic attitude about nighttime parenting
Sleeping, like eating, is not a state you can force a baby into. The best you can do is to create a secure environment that allows sleep to overtake your baby. A realistic long- term goal is to help your baby develop a healthy attitude about sleep. Baby should feel that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in. Many sleep problems in older children and adults stem from children growing up with an unhealthy attitude about sleep. Such as sleep was not a pleasant state to enter and was a fearful state to remain in. Just as daytime parenting is a long-term investment, so is nighttime parenting. Teach your baby a restful attitude about sleep when they are young. By doing this, both you and your children will sleep better when they are older.
Beware of sleep trainers
- Does this advice sound sensible, will it fit your babys temperament and does it feel right to you?
Sleep training may result in long-term loss
Using the rigid, insensitive let-him-cry-it-out method has several problems. First, it will undermine the trust your baby has for nighttime comfort. Second, it will prevent you from working at a style of nighttime parenting until you find the one that works best for you and your family, and third, it may keep you and your doctor from uncovering hidden medical causes of night waking. Night feedings are normal frequent, painful night waking is not.
Stay flexible when putting baby to sleep
Newborn Sleep Tips From The Baby Sleep Whisperer
If we had a genies lamp, better sleep for everyone in the family would definitely be at the top of our wish list.
But until that magical day arrives, we did the next best thing. We spoke to a real-life newborn sleep whisperer Ingrid Prueher, a pediatric sleep consultant, lactation counselor and founder of BabySleepWhisperer.com. Shes a former Wall Street analyst who became a sleep aficionado after the birth of her second son. He kept waking up every few hours at night, so Prueher used her love of data and research to get him in a good bedtime routine. Now shes on a mission to help families around the country get in tip-top sleep shape too.
Prueher uses a five-layer cake approach. That means laying a solid sleep foundation and then applying a training method, aka the icing. With a little groundwork, good sleep can become a reality.
My youngest client has been a day old and my oldest client has been 71 years old, Prueher says. Its never too late to get healthy sleep habits in your life and make sleep a priority.
Here are some of her tips for cracking the code to a better nights sleep for your newborn.
In their first three months of life, you want to help them transition from the womb into our world. After that point, if your child has never slept well, start with some basics, Prueher says. Treat it like youre back to newborn days where you stayed home and focused on all of these things.
2. Know thy baby.
3. Designate a sleep zone.
7. You do you.
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